‘The Curious Woods’ filmmaker found inspiration in the healing power of nature

Albuquerque Journal coverage of a festival film

Sej Saraiya is a photographer and filmmaker that focuses on Indigenous cultures from around the world.

After years of traveling the world, she’s settled down in Los Angeles and has made the move to Santa Fe.

Her short film, “The Curious Woods,” is part of the Santa Fe Film Festival, which runs through Feb. 13, in person and online.The film will screen at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6, at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe as part of “Program 8, Shorts 18: Strange New Worlds.”

“When this film was born, I started noticing a lot of things around me,” she says “The fact that we can be quite disconnected from nature. It’s very easy to lose touch, not only with ourselves, but nature. I learned that going back to this place, it’s a very healing property. That was one of the biggest inspirations, that we can’t forget the healing power of nature.”

“The Curious Woods,” tells the story of widowed and retired professor, Bernie, played by John Henry Richardson, who lives a rather well-worn life in his house in the mountains.

When a mysterious young couple moves in next door, his peaceful life is challenged as their constant brawls bring back painful memories of his past.

Driven by a burning desire to unearth the truth, he gathers the courage to follow the young couple into the forest one day hoping to find answers about his deceased wife. What happens there will change the course his life forever.

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